(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha) Los Angeles, Cuba – Cuban singer-songwriter Carlos Varela applied for a visa to travel to the United States to sing his powerful, amazing songs in Miami, New York and Los Angeles and the US government turned him down, an opinion
article published in The New York Times reported Monday. Written by singer-songwriter Jackson Browne, the article criticized the visa-granting process to Cuban artists because their visits are “detrimental to the interests” of the US. “In essence, the government says that if Carlos Varela plays concerts in the United States, the money he makes would go to Fidel Castro´s government. This is untrue,” Browne indicates.
The Bush administration used the same reasoning to keep award-winners Ibrahim Ferrer and Manuel Galban from attending the Grammy award ceremony in Los Angeles last month. “In a profound way, the US government takes on the role of oppressor when it tries to control which artists will be allowed access to our minds and our hearts. We may think we are isolating Cuba with our embargo and our travel restrictions, but it is we Americans who are becoming isolated. People travel to Cuba from Australia, Britain, Canada, Italy and Spain – countries we consider staunch allies,” Browne stated.
The White House foreign policy on Cuba is unpopular in the US for a good reason. “It stops [US citizens],” the folk singer continued, “from coming into Cuba and Cubans from traveling to the United States. It stops us from sharing medicine with the ill and restricts our ability to sell food to the hungry.” Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 15, Jackson Browne thinks this policy is an outdated relic of the cold war and exists only as a political payoff to Republican-leaning Cuban-American voters in Miami.
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.